Barber Booty

From Deep Sea Vents (album), 2024.

Features: Bruce Hornsby (vocals), Alex Sopp (flute), Hideaki Aomori (clarinet), C.J. Camerieri (trumpet), Rob Moose (violin), Nadia Sirota (viola), Gabriel Cabezas (cello)


“Wispy dissonance yields suddenly to devilish strings and shouting horns, as though some faction of an orchestra had rebelled against sonority; for Hornsby, it became “Barber Booty,” a madcap advertisement for pirate escapades.”



Pirates would plunder merchant ships for profitable trade goods: food and drink (especially fish and alcohol),  tobacco, weapons, medicine, the ship equipment or the vessels themselves, enslaved people and of course, gold, silver and jewels! Any of these would be traded ashore. See also:


An estimated 2 million sailors died of scurvy between the 16th and 18th centuries. It’s caused by a lack of Vitamin C, which pirates countered with lime in their rum.

In his 1820 textbook on nautical medicine, Navy surgeon Usher Parsons unflinchingly described the symptoms. Read with caution!:

  • “The gums become soft, livid and swollen, are apt to bleed from the slightest cause, and separate from the teeth, leaving them loose.
  • About the same time the legs swell, are glossy, and soon exhibit foul ulcers.
  • The same appearances follow, on other depending parts of the body.
  • At first the ulcers resemble black blisters which spread and discharge a dark colored matter. These ulcers increase.
  • Emaciation ensues.
  • Bleeding occurs at the nose and mouth.
  • All the evacuations from the body become intolerably fetid.
  • Death closes the scene.”

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